Role theory perspectives
on work and family
Two different approaches conflict: inter-role conflict
work and family are in basic conflict
2.role enhancement perspective
expansionist theory
human energy is potentially expandable
Work-family conflict perspective
1980s : married women’s labor force
participation experienced a
increase (beginning in the 1920s)
Ozzie-and-Harriet family?
Sex-role attitude in the 1970s-1980s?
Work-family conflict perspective
Employed married women with children
were assumed to be less resilient than
men with the same role set—
depression and anxiety
Employed married women were also
assumed to be shortchanging their
husband and children and put them at risk
Work-family conflict perspective
View work and family as separate, and conflict
Work and family are separate and in
competition for time, attention, energy,
strain, and behavior………
Work-family conflict perspective
Each employee is viewed as caught in a zerosum game
1.reduce the energy available for performing
other roles
2.increase strain
3.encourage behaviors that are incompatible
with the performance of other roles
ex. excessive work hours have been related
to increased marital tension
Work-family conflict perspective
-Gender difference in work-family conflict
gender: gender had far less impact on workfamily conflict than did family
marital status: dual-earner couples
experience similar levels of conflict
and far less work-family stress than
did heads of single-parent families
Work-family conflict perspective
-Long work hours as a predictor of health and QOL
Several studies challenge the assumed link of
long work hours and negative outcomes
ex. The more hours worked by women and
men in full-time employed couples, the
lower their distress
ex. Within-couples longitudinal research: both
husbands and wives, increase in wives’s work
hours over time was related to increase in
psychological distress and, increase in parentrole quality
Work-family conflict perspective
-Long work hours and work-family conflict
Weak relationship
-Work-family conflict as a predictor or health and
Work-to-family conflict
Family-to-work conflict
-Work-family conflict as a mediator
Stressful job condition-work/family conflict-health,
Work-family conflict perspective
Working hours
Long hours
health and QOL
work-family conflict
Role enhancement perspective
Women’s natural role?
Men’s natural role?
Adding the worker role is beneficial to women
Adding in family role is beneficial foe men
Role enhancement perspective
-Number of roles as a predictor of health and
Rewards associated with multiple-role
buffering of the negative opportunities for
social support, multiple opportunities to
experience success ………
subjective sense of success in balancing
work and family
Role enhancement perspective
-Number of roles as a predictor of health and
Positive attitude toward employment: low
The role of parent: employed women showed
less distress than nonemployed women
with preschool children
Role enhancement perspective
-Number of roles as a predictor of health and
Employment for women and family involment
for men are beneficial
Role enhancement perspective
-Number of roles versus role quality as a
predictor of health and QOL
Role quality is more important to mental and
physical health and quality of life than is
the number of roles or time spent in a
particular role
Role enhancement perspective
-Indirect effect of multiple roles
Negative job experience
Economic hardship
marital conflict
Marital conflict
Future directions
Integrating the work-family conflict and role
enhancement perspectives
Taking a system approach to the work-family
the effect of one partner to the other: couple
worker’s QOL
schedule fit: adaptive strategies for maximizing
both of their abilities to meet workplace and
family systems needs
family level effects: partners, children, and other
members of the employee’s family system
Q and A

Role theory perspectives on work and family